When it comes to display graphics, quality is king. Starting with the material and inks used, to the printing and finishing methods, a poorly produced graphic will be immediately noticeable by potential customers.
When you are in a competitive environment such as an exhibition, where quality of stand and graphics can be easily compared, the difference between someone visiting your stand or a competitors is all in the details.
We will provide you with the information needed to make sure you are buying the right quality graphic and to help keep your display graphics looking their best.
Choose the Right Materials and Inks for the Job
Let’s start with the most obvious way to ensure a long lasting graphic – purchase one that is made from a high quality material and produced by a skilled print department. You may be able to get away with a low quality A4 poster for advertising a local gig, but when you’re at an exhibition you want to make an instant impact and a lasting impression. A poor quality graphic is obvious and makes your brand look unprofessional.
You want to look for materials that are durable and resistant to the elements. Finishes such as scratch resistance, UV resistance and lamination are good indicators that the company producing your graphics have durability in mind.
To take lamination as an example, a good quality over-laminate not only protects from UV exposure, but it can make a print last up to eight times longer than it would without lamination.
Look for mentions of how many colours are used in the print process, what brand of ink the company uses and what print equipment they use to produce the graphics. Like any piece of electronic equipment the difference between the entry-level and the top of the range model is great in terms of performance and reliability.
Although not a fool-proof way of determining a quality print-shop, one that invests in reputable equipment is a good indicator that they want the best results.
As well as the material quality, also make sure you are using the right material for its intended usage. An indoor poster used in an A-Board might last short term in good weather, but if your event has rain the material can disintegrate and the inks run. Special outdoor materials protect from the sun and the rain making sure your message stays legible.
The stands that hold the graphics are also available in indoor and outdoor ranges. Outdoor displays are designed to withstand rain, wind and sun and usually have protective covers for the graphics.
Storing Rollable Graphics
Certain types of graphics, such as those for pop up stands can be rolled up when not in use for easy transport and storage. The main thing to consider when taking care of rollable graphics is to make sure they are rolled the correct way.
It is tempting to roll up your pop up stand and rollable exhibition graphics facing inwards to protect the graphics but this will in fact damage the print. Good quality rollable graphics are supplied with a deep crystal laminate to the front, which protects your display from spills and scratches. Rolling the graphic with the image facing inwards can cause the graphic to de-laminate over time, so remember to roll them up with the graphics facing outwards.
Cleaning Your Graphic
Exhibitions and trade shows are busy places and you will be suprised how much dirt will find its way onto your display. Sticky fingers, spilled drinks and dust are a graphics enemy, and over time you will find that your graphic starts to get grubby.
As mentioned earlier, choosing the right graphic material with a protective finish is a great way to combat dirt. Rollable graphics, pop up drops and some banner stands usually have a base material with a protective over-laminate. They can usually be wiped clean with a damp cloth, however don’t use harsh chemicals to clean as this can strip away the protection. If possible, also avoid getting the edges of your graphic moist as this can cause bubbles to form where water gets trapped.
Don’t Let Things Get Attached To Your Graphic
Walking around exhibitions you will quite often see people that have printed off a quick A4 “show special” and attached it to the front of their graphic. Unfortunately this is doing more harm than good as sellotape is a big no-no to graphics. It can cause de-lamination of the graphic and can easily pull the colour from an un-laminated graphic.
Keep Them Protected
Having survived the rigours of the show itself, keeping your graphics protected during transport and storage in between shows should be your primary focus. There are a range of soft and hard protective cases for trade show graphics available to prevent damage and creases. These can be a wise investment as the cost of replacing a graphic can be in the hundreds.
For graphics in pavement signs and portable exhibition stands that have protective cover sheets, make sure the sheets are free from cracks, and replace if necessary. Again the cost of these sheets is minimal compared to having to constantly replace damaged graphics.
We hope that these tips will help extend the life of your graphics and see you through many exhibitions. If you have any tips or questions please share them with us in the comments below.